Frequently Asked Questions

4-H Youth
  • What is 4-H?
    4-H is a community of young people across America who are learning leadership, civic engagement, and life skills. 4-H is the youth development program of the Clemson University* Cooperative Extension Service. As a non-formal, experiential educational program for youth, 4-H is where there's fun in learning and learning in fun! (*4-H programs in the state are also offered via South Carolina State University.)
  • What is the mission of 4-H?
    The South Carolina 4-H Youth Development Program uses a learn-by-doing approach, the involvement of caring adults, and the knowledge and resources of Clemson University and the land grant university system to empower youth to become healthy, productive, and contributing members of society.
  • Isn't 4-H just for kids who live on farms?
    No! 4-H is for all youth, wherever they live - on farms, in suburbs, in cities. 4-H serves youth from all backgrounds and interests. It reaches both boys and girls through 4-H clubs, special-interest groups, short-term projects, individual & family learning & mentoring, camping, and school enrichment. Most 4-H members do not live on farms and they participate in contemporary projects such as robotics, photography, community service, healthy lifestyles, model rocketry, STEM activities, animal and ag sciences, and so much more. 4-H offers membership on an age-appropriate basis and offers its programs to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or family status.
  • What is a 4-H club?
    4-H clubs are the foundation of the 4-H program. A 4-H club is a group of five or more youngsters guided by one or more adult volunteer leaders. A club can be any size from a small group of kids from one neighborhood to a larger club consisting of youth from all over the county.
  • What happens in a 4-H club?
    A 4-H club usually concentrates on one or more projects such as gardening, woodworking, small animals, food and nutrition, photography, etc. 4-H members build leadership by electing officers and conducting their own business meetings; work together on community service activities; meet new friends; and most importantly, have lots of fun.
  • Does it cost money to join 4-H?
    There is a $15 annual membership fee to participate in any 4-H club or project. This fee does include a 4-H membership shirt for the year. This fee is waived for any group already assembled that participate in enrichment type activities, such as a school class. Once the fee has been paid for the club year, which runs September 1 through August 31, it will not need to be paid again and the 4-H'er can participate in anything 4-H in any South Carolina county. Some clubs, projects, and camps may have separate fees in addition to the annual membership fee.
  • What age must you be to join 4-H?
    Youth, ages 5-18, can be 4-H club members and enroll in many different 4-H projects. Younger 4-H members (ages 5-8) are provided a non-competitive learning experience as "Cloverbuds." Sometimes, Cloverbuds are in separate clubs where they sample a variety of 4-H projects. Older 4-H members also have special opportunities, such as serving on a county-wide 4-H teen council or participating in state programs and events.
  • How did 4-H originate?
    4-H clubs were preceded by corn clubs for boys and canning clubs for girls, organized in the early 1900s by public school educators who wanted to broaden the knowledge and experience of their students. 4-H became an official part of the Cooperative Extension Service, along with agriculture and home economics, at about the time Cooperative Extension was officially established by the U.S. Congress in 1914. The term "4-H Club" first appeared in a federal document in 1918, and by the mid-1920s, 4-H was well on its way to becoming a significant national program for youth. 4-H is an American ideal that has spread around the world. Throughout its long history, 4-H has constantly adapted to the ever-changing needs and interests of youth.
  • Where does 4-H get its funding?
    Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service, of which 4-H is a part, receives funds from a cooperative partnership of three levels of government: federal (via the Cooperative States Research, Education & Extension Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture), state (via Clemson University Public Service & Agriculture) and, in some cases, county funding. 4-H also receives support from private sources.
  • Who "runs" the 4-H program?
    Volunteers are the key to providing 4-H programs for youth. Capable, interested adult volunteers are always needed to lead clubs and to assist with 4-H activities. Orientation is provided, so no previous experience is necessary. 4-H volunteers are supported by a professional staff, including a county 4-H agent who is a staff member of Clemson University. The county 4-H agent is responsible for the county-wide 4-H program and also has state and national responsibilities. There are various county 4-H support and advisory groups made up of interested adult volunteers. State and national 4-H personnel assist county 4-H professionals.
  • What do the four Hs on the 4-H emblem stand for?
    The 4-H emblem is a green four-leaf clover with a white 'H' on each leaflet, symbolizing Head, Heart, Hands, and Health. The 4-H emblem was patented in 1924.
  • What is the 4-H pledge?
    At 4-H club meetings and other 4-H events, 4-H members recite the Pledge of Allegiance and this 4-H pledge: I pledge my Head to clearer thinking,
    my Heart to greater loyalty,
    my Hands to larger service,
    and my Health to better living,
    for my club, my community,
    my country, and my world.
  • What is the 4-H motto?
    "To Make the Best Better"
  • What is the 4-H slogan?
    "Learn by Doing"
  • Where are 4-H programs found?
    4-H programs are conducted in 3,150 counties of the United States, and also in the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Also, more than 80 countries around the world have youth programs similar to 4-H, with an overall enrollment of about 7 million young people.
  • Is 4-H in my county?
    Yes! 4-H is in every county in the state. In South Carolina, thousands of members are in hundreds of local 4-H clubs. Thousands more are involved in 4-H through school enrichment, short-term programs, and camping. Also, hundreds of adults volunteer their time to assist with the 4-H program. You can be part of a 4-H group or club by contacting your county's Extension/4-H office.
  • How can I find out more about 4-H in my county?
    Contact the 4-H staff in the Clemson Cooperative Extension office in the county where you live. Check out County Offices or click on the following link to receive more information from your county.
  • What is a 4-H Club? The Official Definition
    An organized group of youth, led by an adult, with a planned program that is carried on throughout all or most of the year. 4-H clubs may meet in any location and typically have elected officers and a set of rules approved by the membership to govern the club. 4-H clubs might meet in the community, on military installations, in schools during school hours, as well as in school-age childcare settings after school.
  • Why 4-H Clubs?
    Being in a 4-H club provides important opportunities for youth to learn subject matter and life skills while working with a caring adult and other youth. Once youth are 4-H members, they become eligible for a variety of benefits of belonging to 4-H, including awards, trips, special events, etc. Of course, it's meant to be fun for the kids and the leaders too!
  • Different 4-H clubs for different ages
    4-H has lots to do no matter what you're interested in or where you live. Membership in a 4-H club is offered to all youth, ages 5-19, on an age-appropriate basis. Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or family status and is an equal opportunity employer.

    Standard 4-H clubs involve youth, ages 9-18, and focus on in-depth learning of one or more projects.

    4-H Cloverbud clubs provide youth, ages 5-8, with an introduction to 4-H in a non-competitive environment.
  • Expectations of 4-H clubs and members of the club
    In general, all 4-H club members are expected to meet the following standards each year:
    • Attend at least 70 percent of regular club meetings.
    • Complete a 4-H project, doing one’s own work with minimal assistance from parents or others.
    • Give a club, community, or county 4-H presentation.
    • Complete a 4-H project record book.
    These are the minimum expectations. Each club may have additional requirements. All club rules and policies should be contained in its club constitution. To join a 4-H club or find out more about what 4-H has to offer, contact or visit the Extension Office in the county where you live. Most counties also have local 4-H information on their own web sites. You can find out what types of 4-H clubs are available and when and where they meet.
  • Starting a 4-H club
    If the type of 4-H club you're interested in doesn't exist in the area where you live, it only takes a helpful adult to be a 4-H leader and a small group of kids who want to learn and have fun together. Your county 4-H staff can help with the rest!

    Most 4-H clubs are led by volunteers, which may include staff in after-school sites, military installations, etc. Starting a 4-H club isn't difficult and you are encouraged to seek help from parents or other volunteers. Local Extension/4-H staff can help you get started.

    Be sure to identify your 4-H club as a 4-H club!
    Create a constitution for your club.
  • Be an active and successful 4-H club
    • Learn how to elect officers and run business meetings.
    • Field trips can be a great contribution to the 4-H philosophy of "Learning by Doing". 4-H members can observe and participate in a real-life 4-H project-related experience.
    • Your club can promote 4-H to attract new members and let the public know how important 4-H is to the community.
    • Let the public know what your 4-H club is doing by sending a news release to local media.
    • Help others in the community by conducting a service project.
    • Successful clubs result from all members and leaders working together.
  • 4-H project record books
    4-H club members are expected to complete an annual 4-H project record. Keeping a 4-H record book will help youth:
    • Learn how to organize themselves
    • Learn how to set reasonable goals
    • Appreciate what they have learned this year from the goals they reached
    • Recognize what they learned in their 4-H project
    • Explain what they have learned
    • Keep track of costs of their project
    • Gather information needed to apply for awards and scholarships
    • Complete applications and resumes for jobs and college
    • Meet requirements to participate in some county, state, or national 4-H events.
    4-H project record books are often used as an indication of the quality of a 4-H member’s work during the year and to help with the selection of 4-H awards and recognition, usually at the club/county level.
  • Becoming a 4-H club leader
    4-H has a responsibility to provide a safe and healthy environment for youth. Therefore, all 4-H volunteers complete a screening and orientation process before being appointed. To register to be a 4-H volunteer, complete a 4-H Volunteer Registration Form and the Extension Volunteer Status Form (authorizing background and references check). Please contact your County Extension 4-H Office for more information on the needs for 4-H volunteers where you live.
  • Training and resources for 4-H club leaders
    The 4-H Leader Training Series is the official source of orientation and training materials for all 4-H volunteers in South Carolina. It is especially valuable for 4-H club leaders and contains a wealth of information from how to start a club to planning field trips to how to work with youth.

If you need additional information, please complete the form on the Additional Information Page and we would be glad to assist you.